Glossary of Liturgical Terms

Ministers at Mass
Celebrant: The one who presides over the assembly and consecrates the Eucharistic Sacrament.
Concelebrants: Those priests and bishops who join the Celebrant in celebrating the Mass.
Deacon: An ordained minister who assists the Celebrant at the Liturgy of the Word and at the altar for the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
Master of Ceremonies: One who assisted in the preparation of the celebration and is present during it to facilitate the movement of the entire rite.
Altar server: One who assists in the celebration (i.e., carrying candles, holding the Pope's staff miter, etc.).
Cross bearer: The one who carries the cross in the procession (entrance and recessional).
Reader: One who is called upon to proclaim the scriptures during the Liturgy of the Word.
Cantor: One who sings during the liturgy (i.e., the responsorial psalm).
Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion: Those who assist in the distribution of Holy Communion.
Assembly: Those present to celebrate the liturgy. Other terms: to use: "The Community," "The Church (as people not building)," "The Faithful," or "the congregation."

Liturgical Objects
Altar: A table on which the sacrifice of the Mass is offered. It is the center of importance in the place where the Mass is celebrated. Also called: The Table of the Lord.
Ambo: The place where the Scriptures are pr oclaimed. Also called Lectern. Avoid: Pulpit
Aspergillum: A vessel or device used for sprinkling holy water. The ordinary type is a metallic rod with a bulbous tip which absorbs the water and discharges it at the motion of the user's hand.
Cathedra: The (Arch)bishop’s chair at Cathedral
Celebrant's Chair: The place where the celebrant sits. It expresses his office of presiding over the assembly and of leading the prayer of those present.
Processional Cross: A portable crucifix, mounted on a staff, which is carried in front of liturgical processions.
Crucifix: A cross with an image of Christ’s body on it. Symbolic of the Passion and death of Christ, it is used in public and private devotions.
Bread and Wine: The elements used in the celebration of Eucharist (unleavened bread and natural pure wine). NOTE: After the Eucharistic Prayer the bread and wine is referred to as: the consecrated bread and wine or the body and blood of Christ.
Credence Table: A small, moveable table, located off to the side of the altar, which holds the necessary items for liturgical functions, particularly the Mass, such as the chalice, basin, and finger cloth and towel.
Cruets: The containers/vessels holding the water and wine.
Chalice: The cup used to hold the wine.
Ciborium: A vessel used to hold the consecrated bread for the distribution of communion.
Paten: The plate used to hold the bread that will be consecrated during the Eucharistic prayer.
Pall: A square of stiff linen that cov- ers the chalice dur- ing the Mass to pre- vent dust and other particles from falling into it.
Corporal: A small, white linen cloth, upon which the Eucharistic species rests during the Mass. All sacred vessels that hold the Blessed Sacrament must be placed on the corporal, to ensure that no fragments of the Eucharist are lost.
Purificator: Rectangular white linen used to wipe clean the Chalice and Ciborium clean of any remnants of Jesus's body and blood after communion
Pyx: A small sacred vessel that is used to privately carry the Blessed Sacrament to the sick and homebound.
Lectionary: The book that contains all the readings from the Scriptures for use in the celebration of the liturgy.
Book of Gospels: The book which contains the Gospel texts, from which the priests or deacon proclaims the Gospel of the day.
Roman Missal: The book used by the celebrant, containing all the prayers for the liturgy of the Mass.

Religious objects within the Church
Holy Oils: Blessed by the local bishop at the Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday, holy oils (holy chrism, the oil of catechumens, and the oil of the sick) are used at the anointing during the celebration of the sacraments as well as in the consecration of persons and things. From the earliest times, oil has signified healing and being set apart for special work and important responsibilities.
Holy Water: The blessed water, normally found just inside the entrance of the church, which is used to make the sign of the cross. Holy water is a powerful reminder of the sacrament of Baptism and is frequently used in blessings as a sign of the Lord’s loving care.
Incense: Granulated or powdered aromatic resin that is burned during liturgical services (such as pro- cessions and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, funeral masses, and dedications of churches) and re- leases a fragrant odor. The rising of incense during the liturgy symbolizes the rising of our prayers to God
Thurible/Censer: The metal vessel wherein in- cense is added to burning coals which produce ris- ing, sweet-smelling smoke.
Tabernacle: The shrine located in churches, cha- pels, and oratories that serves as a place for the exclusive reservation of the Blessed Sacrament. The tabernacle is always to be solid, immovable, and located in a prominent place.
Monstrance: The sacred vessel designed to expose the Eucharist to the faithful during adoration and Benediction in a church or while the Blessed Sacrament is being carried in procession. Often- times, the glass enclosure is surrounded by rays that emanate in all directions, symbolizing the infinite outpouring of graces that flow from the Blessed Sacrament upon those who worship and adore it.
Stations of the Cross: Artistic representations of 14 moments in the life of Jesus from when he was condemned to death unto his burial in the tomb. This is a form of meditative prayer to contemplate the suffering and death of Jesus for our sins.

Vestment: The vesture (ceremonial clothing) the ministers wear.
Alb: The white garment covering one's street dress for participation in the liturgy.
Chasuble: The vestment worn over the alb by priests, bishops and Pope when celebrating the Mass.
Cassock: A non-liturgical, full-length, close-fitting robe for use by priests and other clerics under liturgical vestments usually black for priests, purple for bishops and other prelates, red for cardinals, white for the Pope.
Surplice: a loose, flowing vestment of with wide sleeves, worn buy altar servers. Can be white, black or red.
Dalmatic: The vestment the deacon wears over the alb on solemn occasions.
Stole: The vestment worn around the neck by all ordained ministers. For priests, bishops and Pope, it hangs down in front (under the chasuble); the deacons wear it over their left shoulder crossed and fastened at the right side.
Humeral Veil: A scarf-like vestment, usually ornately decorated, which covers the hands of the minister when he is touching or carrying sacred objects such as the monstrance during Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. The humeral veil is worn in reverence, so that the ends of the veil, and not the hands of the minister, touch the sacred object.
Cope: Cape like vestment worn for liturgical ceremonies out side of Mass. Examples: Adoration and Benediction.
Specific to the Bishop:
Mitre: A headdress worn at some liturgical functions by bishops, abbots and, in certain cases, other ecclesiastics.
Crosier (pastoral staff): The staff which a bishop carries when he presides at the liturgy.
Zucchetto: Skull cap worn by the Pope (white) and bishops (purple) and Cardinals (red).

Church Terms
Cathedral: The major church in an archdiocese or diocese. It is the seat of the local Ordinary.
Diocese: a geographical region, and all the parishes in that area, that a particular bishop oversees and shepherds. All the Catholics in a diocese are under the spiritual care of that bishop.
Archdiocese: The chief diocese of a group of dioceses is called an archdiocese; see that entry. An archdiocese helps distribute the governance of the Catholic Church and keeps the most important shared ministries and administrative functions of a Catholic community at the local level. Matters of greater importance go to Rome
Parish: A specific community of the Christian faithful within a diocese, having its own church building, under the authority of a pastor who is responsible for providing ministerial service. Most parishes are formed on a geographic basis.
Sanctuary: The area at the front or center of the church where the altar, lectern, and chairs for those serving in the liturgy are located.
Nave: The area of the Church where the pews/chairs are and where the Congregation sits
Narthex: The entry area of the Church
Confessional: An enclosed place where the peni- tent confesses sins and the priest administers the sacrament of Penance. During the sacrament, the peni- tent may either kneel behind a screen or sit with the priest face-to-face